Friday, June 17, 2011

Glories of Spain by Charles W. Wood

A Review by Robert Bovington


“Glories of Spain” was published in 1901 and describes the travels and adventures of Charles W. Wood and his friends, on a trip to Spain. 
Despite the book title, the party only visited the east of the country. Nevertheless it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. 
Charles W. Wood thoroughly describes the places he visits – Gerona, Barcelona, Montserrat, Manresa, Lerida, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Poblet, Tortosa and Valencia but, more than that he provides the reader with a thoroughly entertaining dialogue of the people he meets and their stories. And what an interesting bunch! They included former sweethearts Sister Rosalie and Father Anselmo who sacrificed their love for each other for a life in the Church and the hopeful reward of life together in Heaven; Ernesto and his mother; Salvador the Monk who preferred to live in a cave than the monastery at Montserrat and Monseigneur Delormais and his world-wide travels. Then there was the downtrodden night porter and his wife Rose aka the Dragon; Quasimodo and his beautiful music; blind Nerissa and her husband Alphonse; Loretta & her donkeys and more. 
The author enthuses over many of the monuments he visits and provides the reader with detailed histories of some of the places. 
Surprisingly, Charles W. Wood is not well known. Very little information was to be found about him when I researched using the Internet. His mother, however, was a famous author – Mrs Henry Wood wrote over thirty novels, the most famous being East Lynn. 
Charles W. Wood did write other travel books including “Letters from Majorca” and "In the Valley of the Rhone. He should not be confused with another author of the same name – an American who wrote “The Passing of Normalcy”. 
In summary, “Glories of Spain” is a delightful travelogue written by an Englishman in the late 1890s. 

Robert Bovington 
May 2011

from 1901 edition

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